Monday, January 09, 2006


Growing up, Tucson's library book sale was the high point of our year, as good as Christmas. It became a little less fun as they prices got higher (dollar books instead of ten and fifteen cent volumes). When we moved to Waco we quickly found the local library book sale there too.

After Billy and I married, I indroduced him to the wonder of used book sales, filled with bibliofanatics. We've become one of those crazy couples who mark the sale on our calendar weeks in advance, and then wait in line for hours with our folding chairs, snacks, and strollers, so we can be among the first to get in. We have maps and strategies and lists of special books to look for. We divide the children, almost run to the favorite and most promising sections, and squeeze ourselves between other book-lovers who all pretend they are the only ones scanning dingy covers for that perfect find. Used book shoppers are far worse than city drivers. The only way you can get into the lineup is if one of them leaves. Consequently, getting there first is of utmost importance.

Where we live now, we actually have two great book sales, one in the spring and one in the fall. By accident we stumbled across another, smaller sale recently and found some amazing titles for only ten cents.

Last night, though, I made an even greater find. Some of our church ladies had cleaned out the church library, which has not been in active use for many years. The books I looked at haven't been checked out since the 70's. They tried to sell them at a fundraiser garage sale, but I guess no one buys kids' books at garage sales because there were four large boxes left, free for the taking. How had I missed this? I was hesitant to take too many, but one of the ladies assured me, "These have been here for a long time and everyone has had a chance to look through them. Take all you want."

I came away with some beautifully illustrated books I've never heard of as well as old favorites like King of the Wind by Margeurite Henry and A Baby Sister for Frances. Silas has looked through a colorful retelling of David and Goliath many times already, and while we waited for Billy to finish his meetings, Elizabeth sat down with a stack of new favorites. I'm running out of room, but I remember what my friend Valerie always says: "There's no such thing as too many books, just not enough bookshelves."

1 comment:

Valerie said...

Too true. I found a great used book store in Ireland, with mostly childrens books, and was really sad that they were too expensive for my budget, and that I'd have no way to get them back. As it is, I bought four great adult books at a bookstore in Oxford. I couldn't help myself. I look forward to having kids to read books to again!